Academics vote for strike action over pensions changes

Posted On: 
23rd January 2018

Lecturers at dozens of British universities have voted to go on strike next month over changes to their pensions.

Staff at Cambridge University are among those who voted in favour of strike action

The move was approved by 88% of staff who voted in a ballot organised by the University and College Union, which represents academics at some 68 institutions. 

Unless employer Universities UK offers concessions, campuses will see strikes on 22 and 23 February, followed rolling protests in the subsequent weeks. 

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UUK said the result was "disappointing" and urged the UCU to "consider the possible impact on students of taking industrial action”.

The two sides are due to hold talks today in a bid to end the impasse and avoid the strikes.

The dispute hinges on changes to the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which guarantees academics and university staff an annual payment based on final salary and contributions. 

UUK proposed changing the system so that retirement income would depend on the stock market performance of pension funds, with staff taking on the risk of investments underperforming. 

The head of the UCU, Sally Hunt, said her members were prepared to take "sustained" action to defend the existing scheme.

“Even at this late stage we urge universities to work with us to reach an agreement that protects the defined benefit element of USS pensions,” she said.